Curtains came down on the single-phase Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry at 7 pm on Tuesday. Polling was peaceful across the state and the Union Territory.
While computing the final turnout will take time, in Tamil Nadu, the voter turnout, as of 7 p.m., was 71.79 per cent. In Puducherry, it was about 81.60 per cent, officials said.
According to poll body officials, the above numbers are provisional while the final tally will be known later.
Voting was also held for the bypoll to the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat.
In Tamil Nadu, a total of 3,998 candidates were in the fray seeking support from the 6.28 crore electorate.
Brisk polling was witnessed in a majority of the 88,937 polling booths in all the 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu since the start.
Over 1.59 lakh electronic voting machines were in use and about 1.58 lakh security personnel were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Leaders of various political parties, several movie actors and the general public were seen voting early.
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, DMK President M.K. Stalin, PMK founder S.Ramadoss, Congress leader P. Chidambaram, DMDK Treasurer Premalatha Vijayakant, NTK leader Seeman, MNM leader Kamal Haasan and others cast their votes.
From the movie field, Rajinikanth, star couple Ajit Kumar and Shalini, Surya, Karthi, and Sivakumar too cast their votes.
V.K.Sasikala, the close aide of late Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, could not vote as her name was removed from the electoral rolls, said her counsel Raja Senthoor Pandian.
Sasikala, who was jailed for four years on corruption charges, was released recently.
Meanwhile, charges and counter-charges were laid by political parties for violation of electoral rules.
In order to have a good voter turnout and also enable Covid-19 patients to vote, the poll body had allowed them to perform their democratic right by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits.
Voters had to compulsorily wear masks, and thermal scanning was done at the polling booths.
Arrangements for live webcast of the polling process in sensitive booths were also made.
The 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly polls saw a six-cornered contest for occupying Fort St. George, the seat of power.
However, the main contest was between the ruling AIADMK-led alliance and the DMK-led front.
The others in the fray are actor-turned-politicians Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) alliance, Vijayakant-promoted DMDK, the alliance led by the AMMK floated by T.T.V. Dhinakaran and movie director Seeman’s NTK.
The AIADMK, led by Chief Minister Palaniswami, who sought a third term for the party while the DMK-led by Stalin sought to break the decade-long power drought.
The ruling AIADMK contested in 179 seats and six other small parties each contested in one seat each under its ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.
The others in the AIADMK alliance are the BJP (contesting in 20 seats) and PMK (23), and the TMC (6).
On the other hand, the DMK fought in 173 seats while alliance partner Congress in 25, the CPI, the CPI-M, the MDMK and the VCK contested six seats each, the IUML, and the KMDK three each, the MMK two, the All India Forward Bloc, the MVK, the ATP and the TVK one seat each.
A total of 187 candidates — DMK’s own and that of alliance parties — fought under the former’s Rising Sun symbol.
The MNM had allied with actor Sarathkumar’s AISMK and the IJK while Dhinakaran’s AMMK had allied with the DMDK, AIMIM and others.
The Seeman-led NTK went alone contesting in all the 234 constituencies.
The other parties in the fray on their own were the Bahujan Samaj Party (contesting in 160 seats), the Puthiya Tamizhagam (60 seats) and the Republican Party of India (16 seats).
Meanwhile, Puducherry recorded 81.60 per cent polling.
The Union Territory had just over 10 lakh voters and the fight for the 30-member Assembly was majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisting of the Congress (contesting 14 seats), the DMK (13), the CPI, and VCK (one seat each) and an Independent.
The rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprised of All India N.R. Congress (16 seats), the BJP (nine) and the AIADMK (five).
Counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Leaders of various political parties, several movie actors and general public were seen voting early.
Chief Minister K.Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, DMK President M.K. Stalin, PMK Founder S.Ramadoss, Congress leader P. Chidambaram, DMDK Treasurer Premalatha Vijayakant, NTK leader Seeman, MNM leader Kamal Haasan, AMMK leader T.T.V.Dhinakaran and others cast their votes.
Similarly, the Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, who is managing the poll show in the state, too cast his vote.
From the movies field, Rajinikanth, star couple Ajit Kumar and Shalini, Vijay, Surya, Karthi, Sivakumar have cast their votes.
Ajit Kumar and Shalini had reached their polling booth about 20 minutes before the start of polling to vote early in order to avoid the fan crowd.
He, in fact, never fails to vote in any election. In the past polls too, he was seen standing in the queue to cast his vote.
On his part Vijay pedalled his way from his residence to the polling booth with a large number of people following him on their two wheelers.
After voting he went back home on a two wheeler.
Speaking to reporters after voting, Stalin said, “people were casting their votes enthusiastically and the May 2 result will be great”.
A total of 88,937 polling booths are there in the state and over 1,59,165 electronic voting machines have been deployed.
About 1.58 lakh security personnel have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Similarly, voting is underway at the lone Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat where bypoll is being held simultaneously.
The Puducherry Union Territory has just over 10 lakh voters and the fight for the 30-member Assembly is majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisting of Congress (contesting in 14 seats), DMK (13), CPI, VCK (one seat each) and an Independent.
The rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprises of All India N.R. Congress (16 seats), BJP (9) and AIADMK (5).
At a time when eligible voters of Tamil Nadu are casting their vote to elect a new government in the state, V.K.Sasikala, the close aide of late Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, could not vote as her name was removed from the electoral rolls, said her counsel Raja Senthoor Pandian.
According to him, Sasikala’s name figured in the Thousand Lights assembly constituency.
She was residing at Jayalalithaa’s residence at Poes Garden.
The AIADMK government later took over that house to convert it into a memorial after Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016.
Though she had said that she would get into active politics, Sasikala later announced that she would stay away from it.
Her counsel said officials in the poll body had informed him that Sasikala’s name was struck off from the electoral rolls in January 2019 after the rolls were revised.
Later the deadline for inclusion of Sasikala’s name in the voters list got over.
He also wondered why the Election Commission had not sent her notice at Parapana Agrahara Prison in Bengaluru. (IANS)